Smartphone credit card payment processors are easier to set up than credit card merchant accounts and get you your money much faster than checks. For very small businesses, businesses that don’t process enough payments to warrant getting a merchant account, and businesses with tight cash flows, mobile is probably the way you want to go.

Think about it: you can finish a client tour of your facilities, sign a contract for a big order, then swipe your customer’s card for the 10% up-front fee and have it sitting in your account the next day, rather than sending out an invoice at the end of the week and waiting who knows how long for the check to come in the mail.

Or maybe you make most of your money from house parties or conventions. Rather than lugging around a cash box and losing sales because the attendees forgot to go to the ATM, you can take their plastic. Voila, extra sales for you and extra value for the customer. I used to work the comic convention circuit and having a Square device to plug into an iPhone definitely sealed the deal on a number of sales.

Before mobile payment processing started heating up, Square employees would walk around conventions and hand out their credit card swipers to the sellers manning their booths with their cash boxes; at least, that’s what happened at Comic Con (Comic Con 2011, if I recall). They were the first mobile credit card processing company that I had ever heard of, but the idea has gotten popular fast. There are now several contenders in the field, Intuit GoPayment and PayPal Here being notable among them.

If you want to start taking mobile credit card transactions, start by researching the different offerings currently available – it’s a hot field so new providers are constantly springing up and established ones are regularly adding new features to their services.

By Sharon Campbell